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Why You Need to Explore the Beautiful Croatan National Forest


The Croatan National Forest is the perfect day trip for the nature-loving family. The only true coastal forest east of the Mississippi River, it boasts both beautiful beaches and serene wooded settings. It’s perfect for camping, hiking, fishing, or simply playing in the sand. The range of scenery is sure to please water-lovers and woodland lovers alike. Leave the Croatan National Forest relaxed, refreshed, and pleasantly surprised at this rare ecological gem on the Atlantic coast of east-central North Carolina.

Get more information about the Croatan National Forest and other fun Emerald Isle activities when you download our complimentary Vacation Guide! It’s full of everything you’ll need to plan a memorable trip to the Crystal Coast.

Camping at Croatan National Forest

Pitch your tent at one of the several designated campgrounds at Croatan National Forest. Enjoy peaceful views of the salt marsh at the Cedar Point Recreation Area, located near the mouth of the White Marsh River. The Flanners Beach/Neuse River Campground provides a lot of amenities. Picnic tables, showers, and restrooms are all accessible. Twenty-four of the 40 camp sites even offer electrical hookups. Oyster Point Campground is the ideal spot for boaters; its shallow water ramp provides a great launching point.

If you’d rather bring your RV, many campgrounds provide hookups for your recreational vehicle. And if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, Croatan National Forest allows dispersed camping as well.

Croatan National Forest Hiking Trails

Hike the trails at Croatan National Forest to witness the area's diverse beauty. The forest is 160,000 acres of cypress swamps, pine forests, saltwater estuaries, and bogs. It also houses pocosins, an interesting geological feature that is best described as a swamp on a hill.

Try the Neusiok Trail for an exciting nature walk. The entire trail is over 20 miles long and serves as a path from the Neuse River to the Newport River. As you walk sections of the trail, be sure to look out for the different plants and wildlife in the area. Croatan National Forest is home to Longleaf and Loblolly pines, as well as several species of carnivorous plants. Deer, turkey, and ospreys are also fun to spot, but be aware that black bears and alligators make their homes here as well.

Croatan National Forest Fishing and Water Activities

Water surrounds Croatan National Forest, making it the perfect place for fishing and a variety of water activities. A large variety of fish is available. Fishers will enjoy casting their lines in rivers and streams, lakes and ponds, and various saltwater fishing locations. Catfish lovers can take their canoes out onto the 800-acre Catfish Waterfowl Impoundment. This is a great place to spot wading birds, otters, and deer, in addition to the area’s namesake. Swimming and boating (both motorized and nonmotorized) locations are dispersed throughout the park for even more water fun.

End Your Trip at a Gorgeous Spinnaker’s Reach Vacation Home

Add a touch of luxury to your trip by booking a vacation home with Spinnaker’s Reach. After fishing, hiking, or even a few nights of camping, one of our luxurious homes is the perfect place to relax before heading home. With a diverse selection of homes and a close proximity to Croatan National Forest, you can enjoy the best of both worlds during your trip to Emerald Isle. Contact us today! We’ll be happy to assist you in making sure your trip meets your needs and exceeds expectations.

Photo Credit: scarora / Getty Images

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